Well, another college football season has come and gone and all we learned was that Alabama is still really good and Notre Dame isn’t back yet. Oh, and following NCAA rules is a good idea just in case you happen to go undefeated unexpectedly some year. Failing that, at least don’t get caught if you happen to bend the rules.
As for the finale on Monday night, I was able to watch the national championship game without remorse for the carnage or taking any particular joy in it, either.
I respect the SEC for what it has done in terms of hiring coaches and recruiting and developing players rather then hate it for its success, and being born in the ’80s, I don’t have any strong emotions about Notre Dame.
I see the pros and cons of the whole Fighting Irish thing. There’s some arrogance there, yeah, but that’s true of many programs. My first really vivid memory of Notre Dame is Gary Barnett telling his Northwestern players to expect victory and not carry him off the field when the Wildcats win. That was almost 20 years ago. They haven’t really been good enough to be annoying ever since.
The degree to which some Irish teams have been overrated in the meantime probably helped the Big Ten, if anything. It helped vault John Cooper’s still fledgling OSU program onto the national scene in the mid-90s and many a Michigan season was set up for ultimately being disappointing thanks to a thrashing of the Irish in September.
Of course, Michigan and its in-state neighbors in East Lansing returned the favor this year, going down to Notre Dame in the first month of the season when the Irish were still trying to gain a spot in the national title picture. Continue reading Taking Stock Of The Big Ten and the Nation